Friday 3, February 2023

Soccer-loving top US diplomat thanks Macron over Mbappe

Time Sports Desk: French President Emmanuel Macron received praise during a state visit to Washington for his diplomacy on issues from Lebanon to Ukraine. And also, from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, over soccer.

The top US diplomat, who spent part of his childhood in France, at a luncheon Thursday in honor of Macron offered a light-hearted thank-you to Macron over his favorite team.

The years in Paris "gifted me with a lifelong love of soccer or football, to use the correct word and also the Paris Saint-Germain team," Blinken said as he and Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed Macron to a luncheon at the State Department.

"So while I couldn't be prouder to cheer on Team USA at the World Cup, I'm also thrilled to see Kylian Mbappe working his magic for Les Bleus and, Mr. President, thank you for keeping him in Paris."

The star striker was wooed at the end of last season by Real Madrid but instead agreed to a new contract with PSG. Mbappe has scored three times in the ongoing World Cup, with coach Didier Deschamps resting him for Wednesday's game that France lost to Tunisia.

President Joe Biden at a news conference earlier Thursday described Macron as his "closer," pointing to his role in sealing a US-brokered maritime deal between Israel and Lebanon.

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